Almost 280,000 WA lambs and sheep sent east this year

Zach RelphCountryman
Of the 278,864 head trucked from WA, about 69 per cent were lambs and 31 per cent were sheep.
Camera IconOf the 278,864 head trucked from WA, about 69 per cent were lambs and 31 per cent were sheep. Credit: Danella Bevis

Surging Eastern States’ demand for WA-grown sheepmeat has seen almost 280,000 sheep and lambs cross the Nullarbor this year, new figures reveal.

The latest data for WA sheep movements through the Ceduna checkpoint in South Australia shows 278,864 sheep and lambs have flocked over the border from January 1 to last Thursday.

It marks a 217 per cent increase year-on-year and a 6 per cent hike across the same timeframe in 2017.

The data backs industry predictions, after Countryman sources last week estimated up to 200,000 sheep and lambs had departed the State into South Australia in the past three months.

Of the 278,864 head trucked from WA, about 69 per cent were lambs and 31 per cent were sheep.

Westcoast Wool and Livestock sheep manager Lincon Gangell said given the State’s tough seasonal conditions, the big number of east-bound sheep and lambs was not surprising.

“We are lacking feed and water at the moment, so that is why they are mainly going across,” he said.

“Over east, they are paying better prices too, which helps.”

Countryman understands strong prices of between $110 to $145 a head for lightweight lambs weighing between 33kg and 35kg, are driving the spike in sheep being sent east.

The prices reportedly offered are $10 to $15 per head more than what has been available in WA.

A Landmark-organised auction at the Merredin Saleyards earlier this month, the first held at the facility in more than 15 years, outlined the wave of Wheatbelt livestock travelling east.

After the auction, Landmark agent Aaron Caldwell said Eastern States’ buyers purchased more than 50 per cent of the 5214 head sold.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator fell 25¢ week-on-week on Monday to 762¢/kg.

It came after the national lamb yarding rose to 244,000 head in mid-October.

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